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What the fluff?! Catkins explained

Spring in Shanghai is short, lovely and covered in white fluff

Spring in Shanghai is lovely and, in the next week or two, will be covered in white fluff. The annual invasion of drifting catkins looks pretty at first but then, when you're out trying to enjoy a spring day, it's suddenly in your eyes, in your nose, in your mouth when you're trying to talk or, you know, breathe.

According to SHINE, the streets of Shanghai are lined with approximately one million trees and it's the willow, poplar and plane trees that create the catkins – that airborne, wind-pollinated, downy menace. And (fun fact) it's the female trees that produce that produce the fluffy fuzz. 'Authorities have taken measures such as injecting a liquid agent into trees and trimming them to curb catkin production, but there is no effective way to completely stop them,' Li Xiangmao of the Shanghai Greenery Management Station told SHINE.

April to mid-May is peak catkins season, with roads such as Shaanxi Nan Lu, Fuxing Zhong Lu and Hengshan Lu being places to avoid in particular if you are allergic to catkins or are prone to the odd sneezing fit at this time of year. Wearing a face mask (and glasses of some sort) would also be a sensible measure to take.


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